I have decided to release The Blackunder the pseudonym, “Kadie Buquoi” The last name (pronounced Bu-Kwa) is my maternal grandmother’s maiden name, and a nod to my Cajun heritage. Kadie is spelled with a d instead of a t because it looks cooler, and the gmail name was already taken.
First of all, I can't believe it's June 2016 already. HOW did that happen? I have been mostly off the map for much of the last 3 years, at least as far as being a content creator goes. I needed to take a break to address life stuff, and to reconsider my vision of myself as an artist.
I started releasing content when I was 12. My best friend Sarah and I released our single, "Turn This World Around" which was inspired by the Columbine High School Shootings which had just occurred. From then on, I have been writing and performing music. I love to write and perform, but I didn't know anything about branding, or the importance of establishing my creative projects as entities separate from myself. My life projected itself onto my work, and vice versa, and I never had a crystal clear vision of what I really wanted, aside from a prosperous career in music.
I had my artistic goals and career goals intertwined when there should have been clear boundaries between the two. I felt there was no other way to regain clarity than to allow myself to consider a life without music as my profession. After some time off, I had a few unprovoked musical opportunities that challenged me, and reminded me that I do have marketable qualities as a working musician. Since then, my work has kept me busy, and I'm grateful for this. I concentrated for a while on my work alone, and continued to give space to my art. After many months of this, I began to feel my creative energy percolating again, and with a renewed sense of enjoyment, I have turned back to my own music, writing, and creative projects.
I have definitely been "grinding it out" (as we would say in ultra-running). It hasn't been pretty, so I haven't exactly been sharing a lot. That's going to change though. Thanks for all of your support over the past few years and the many years before. I appreciate you so much. <3
Okay, so first of all, the Superhuman love I have gotten from y’all on Facebook has totally blown me away. This is better than all my birthdays combined. I wanted to share a short backstory to my experience on Superhuman, because it's pretty much the first public appearance I've made for music in quite a while.
Even though I haven’t run an ultra 6 years, my go-to metaphors are all running related, so I’m going to stick with what I know. This time a year ago was kind of like being at mile 48 of a 100 mile race that wasn’t going very well. It was similar to running up a steep, rocky,single track, in shoes that are too small, with poisonous cactus scrapping at your body the entire way. At the time, I was beginning to question whether or not I wanted to continue to pursue music professionally. I'd been in LA 5 years, and hadn't found my place in music here yet - most likely because I was just beginning to understand that I had been struggling with depression. I also made a lot of life-changing decisions on behalf of my newly prioritized emotional well-being. Unfortunately there was a lot of negative fall out from this. The culmination of all of this created a resistance to music that broke my heart. I'd always been able to find myself through music, but I no longer felt joy when I sat at the piano. I doubted my abilities were enough to make a name for myself in Los Angeles, but I was committed to feeling better, whether or not music would continue to be a part of my journey.
I had no clarity on what my real goals were, and so I felt that I was drifting with the winds at a time in my life when I wanted to be building security for myself. After a few half-hearted shows in LA and on the road, I decided that I needed to take time off completely from music. I I looked into other careers I might enjoy, and even took up a few new hobbies like sewing, cooking, and crafting. practiced being at peace with the idea that I could pursue something outside of the music profession. This was when the casting director for Superhuman called me.
She found me through my videos online and contacted me through Facebook. When she described the show, I was turned off at the mention of a $100,000 prize. First of all, I have already been on a game show (Wipe Out Season 2) and I don't want to be "that girl who's always on game shows." Secondly, though I was beginning to feel a little better I feeling particularly eager to be featured on national television. However, she was looking for someone with a very unique ability that I was pretty sure I had, which was a very strong musical ear.
Though I've always felt it was an asset, my ear was never really appreciated by my classical teachers. Sometimes they were unsure if I had come to the lesson having practiced by sitting with the music, or if I had just listened to the recording. The casting agent came up with hypothetical situations in which I would have to use my talent, and I felt strongly that I could do what she was asking.
The months leading up to the SuperHuman filming I dusted myself off and spent hours each day at the piano. I played more songs than I can remember. For weeks I was learning 15-20 songs every day by ear, and then training my eyes by filming myself and watching without sound. This training quickly improved my piano chops and my agility after so much time off. I started to think, "hey, if I'm going to be on t.v. for this, I should be able to get some work playing piano," and so I started looking for work.
Shooting day itself was intimidating. I hadn’t told anyone in my life about the show except for my boyfriend, and a last minute schedule change made it impossible for him to come watch. The white noise they were blasting into my ears made it difficult to hear the music in my head, which is why I also put in ear plugs. Also, Paul Shaffer was a total surprise to me. But seeing that clip with me and my Grandmother at the top of my segment really touched me. I heard she just about fell off her chair when she saw it.
Even though I didn’t win $100,000, I feel like this whole thing was kind of the pick-me-up I needed. It motivated me to get back out there as a professional musician, and eventually as an artist. I’m making my living 100% from art now, which is something I almost gave up a few years ago when the sads were at their worst. The love I got via text, phone call, FB, Twitter, etc. has really brightened my day .
At least I’m Mike Tyson’s favorite and Paul Shaffer technically owes me dinner.
If you donated to my Kickstarter Campaign (a hundred years ago), a digital copy of my upcoming album is available to you, right NOW! The album won't be released until early 2016, but for y'all, it's up on a secret, password-protected webpage. Log in to your Kickstarter account to read my most recent update, which is visible only to my Kickstarter Backers. There, you will find a link and a password to download the album.
I hope you dig!! Thanks again for your love! I love YOU!
Exciting news! I have been invited to be the artist in residence at the Bona Vista Lounge in downtown Los Angeles. The Bona Vista Lounge sits on the top floor of the Westin Bonavenuture, and ROTATES 360 each hour, giving you panoramic views of the city skyline. They have even placed a baby grand piano up there for me - which is pretty awesome, because it's not often I get to perform at a venue with a great piano. I'll be doing originals, covers, and even some classical. Come out to the launch party on Friday, September 4th! - More info and RSVP here!
It's been a while since I have produced art, for myself or anyone else. 2 years ago, I was finishing up my album when I was forced to confront some personal dragons that had seemed benign until then. I underwent the sort of self-realization that completely deconstructs your life, at least temporarily, until you figure out what pieces actually belong there, and which ones just add weight.
In the beginning of this period, I tried to keep the music machine rolling at full force. A few months in, however, I found no joy in my art. I was devastated to find I had chased away the magic I once felt in connecting with the piano keys.
The piano and I have been soul mates since I was a toddler. Discovering my instrument was like discovering an extension of myself, and music filled me up. I think that it was somewhere in my teenage years, perhaps even before then, I began to weigh my passion down with my fears and desires. I feared I was valuable only because of my music. I wished to become successful enough to prove my value.
If passion and inspiration are whole grains and leafy greens, fear an desire are microwave dinners. Fear and desire will seem useful as fuel at first, but fails greatly in comparison to the nourishment of inspiration. Without seeing or comprehending what was happening, fear and desire became the main motivation behind my career decisions. Inspiration made occasional appearances, as if just to let me know it was still alive in me somewhere.
About a year ago, I finally began to understand why something I used to love was causing me to suffer so much. I had figured out that I was asking my art to prove my value. Even though the nature of this dilemma caused me great anxiety, I felt that this was the wrong sort of energy to put into an album release. So, with a finished album in the can, I put any forward movement on hold indefinitely.
Getting out of your own way is a hell of a task. Finally though, after months of quiet, self reflection, love, family, friends, community, healthy foods, exercise, meditation and patience, I feel like creating again - just for the sake of creating.